UCI researcher receives fellowship for scholarly work on long noncoding RNAs

Irvine, Calif., June 13, 2016 – Six University of California, Irvine assistant professors have received 2016-17 UCI Hellman Fellowships, which help promising junior faculty realize their full scientific and academic potential. UCI has awarded 40 Hellman Fellowships since 2013, when the campus program was established with a gift of $1.25 million from the Hellman Family Foundation. UCI’s 2016-17 Hellman Fellows will each receive up to $50,000.

lncRNASha Sun, developmental & cell biology, Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences: Sun studies how living cells control their genetic and epigenetic composition. Her primary research focus is the functional role of long noncoding RNAs in epigenetic programming. She’s also interested in identifying cancer-associated lncRNAs in the hope of providing a new avenue for cancer therapy. Sun earned a B.S. in biochemistry & molecular biology at Peking University in Beijing and a doctorate in evolutionary genetics at the University of Chicago. Before arriving at UCI in 2013, she conducted postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley and Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital.

Established in 1994 by Warren and Chris Hellman of San Francisco, the Hellman Fellows Program has supported more than 850 junior faculty members at 14 institutions, including all 10 University of California campuses. Awards are based on the excellence of the proposal, documentation of how Hellman funding will advance an applicant’s research or other academic creative activities, the candidate’s record of scholarship and monetary need.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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